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Wednesday Whimsy #9


Bonjour friends and happy Wednesday. I feel like I started my week off on the right foot because of a post by Georgianna Lane on Instagram. She's hosting a giveaway and the question she asks to be answered to win is, "leave a quick comment about something that inspires you this week." I had two answers: my writing group (where I currently am writing from. I worked on book stuff too though) and looking forward to my Atlanta/New Orleans trip next month. Thinking about what I was excited about for the week on Sunday gave me something to do besides dread the work week.


I watched Suite Française on Netflix a few weeks ago. It had been on my watchlist for way too long and I decided to try to knock it out. I LOVED the movie. It was romantic and tragic and the lead eye candy didn't hurt it much either. I went out soon after to pick up a copy of the book (and was also able to apply it to my summer reading bingo at the library) and was disappointed. It took me well over a week to read and I did not find myself looking forward to finding time to read it. There were some really great parts in it, including the POV of a cat with great writing, but overall I can't say I recommend the book. It's pretty slow. I find it fascinating though that it was written in secret while the author was experiencing Germany take over France as a Jew.


The beauty routine of Jeanne Damas on Atelier Doré.

Five Parisian tricks that will improve your kitchen.

Seven lifestyle rules French women swear by.

Decoding the secrets of Paris fashion. One of the best "French lifestyle" articles I have ever read!

A fun video: Jeanne Damas' guide to French pharmacies and beauty products.


I have been pretty into Jeanne Damas this week. I love her clothing line, Rouje (can it be Christmas now so I can have these beautiful dresses purchases for me?), her French-girl perfect Instagram, and the short videos I've found of her on youtube. My first embedded video(!):

I can has this apartment please?

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman


This book was recommended to me on Amazon about a year ago, after reading Out of Sorts and The Red Notebook. I'm not sure why I was resistant to reading it at first but now I'm so glad that I did. The author was even in town a few weeks ago and I had a feeling that I should have gone but I didn't. Next time though!

Ove is the grumpiest old man one can possibly imagine. He thinks if you don't drive a Saab you're an idiot, if you can't back up a trailer you shouldn't even be driving, and there's nothing worse than a bureaucrat in a white button-up shirt. But, like with most people, there's a reason he is the way he is. And it is a beautiful story. Parvaneh, his 30-year-old Iranian neighbor, is the perfect contrast to Ove and has a certain way about her that brings him out of his hard shell.

I listed to the audio version of this book and I'm so glad I did in order to hear all over the pronunciations correctly. I thought "Ove" was pronounced like "stove" without the "st" but it's actually "ooo-vuh."

5/5 Stars

Wednesday Whimsy #8


Bonjour mes amis! Happy mercredi and welcome back to another installment of Wednesday Whimsy.


Today I found out about a new Paris-themed book on Anne's Instagram called Don't be a Tourist in Paris. It sounds DELIGHTFUL: "...find the most eccentric architecture, get cozy in hidden cafes, party in the catacombs, tour the city with a broken heart, and wander like a true bohemian. A lively, eccentric and esoteric guide to the hidden Paris of your dreams, from an outsider who's made it her home." Yes, please! I already have a hold on it at the library. It is set to be released on September 7th.


Here's guide from French Girl in Seattle on Boston. I can't wait to put these tips to use in October.

I love this alternative view on What Parisians Do Instead of Self-Care.

A guide to Paris for repeat visitors.

An always fun 11 French Beauty Secrets.

Voilà! came out yesterday! I am eagerly awaiting mine to be delivered as I type.


Have you heard of the blog French and Parfait? The cheeky blog is written by Cecile, the author of the Voilà! cookbook mentioned above. I love how she starts every post with, "My poor non French people." I haven't tried any of her recipes yet (I KNOW!) but I sure will when I get my hands on her new cookbook. She does cooking videos across many platforms and they are very fun to watch.

Will You Ever Change? by Aurélie Valognes


The latest book by Aurélie Valognes, Will You Ever Change, is a look inside the Le Guennec family: Martine, Jacques, and their three sons and respective significant others. The girls aren't completely innocent, but Jacques does nothing to help the strained relationship between the girls and their in-laws. He doesn't make things easy with his wife, either. They have a very old fashioned relationship where he worked to bring money home and Martine did absolutely everything else.

Martine is tired of being taken advantage of by her husband and of not having great relationships with her daughters-in-law so she gives Jacques an ultimatum: be kind and considerate to his family or leave it.

Out of Sorts is the first book I read by this author and I really loved it. These books are similar in that they focus on a really grumpy person changing themselves for the better. Another book of this type, A Man Called Ove, I finished today and may have had tears in my eyes at work.

 4/5 Stars

What We Did in Paris


Despite it being horrifically cold, we really did get to see and do some very awesome things. We took a bike tour where we got to see ancient Roman ruins and explore a new-to-us neighborhood, St-Germain. We did a walking food tour of Montmartre with Clotilde Dusoulier (my main bday present aside from actually going to Paris). We got to see and touch the most beautiful Iron Lady. We went to Musee d'Orsay and see beautiful paintings. I got to see the magical steps from Midnight in Paris. We went to the top of the Sacre Coeur and the Arc de Triomphe.
Now I know why it's taken me so long to finish these posts of Paris: the trip is over and I don't know when I am going back. When I look back though these pictures I can feel what I felt standing on the bridge looking back to the Orsay museum. I remember how excited I was to sit down in the cramped little creperie in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and order a ham and cheese crepe and an Orangina. I can still feel how numb my feet got on the Montmartre tour because it was so cold. I can feel the awe I felt when visiting my first Paris cemetery; all the cats, the blue, the beauty, the urgent feeling of never wanting to leave. I remember our first morning there and how it felt like a fairy tale because it seemed like just moments ago (more like 10 hours) I was in Seattle kissing Nora and Jacques goodbye but actually I was in Paris walking along the Seine. It doesn't even seem like a place that exists when I'm not there but I can feel that it does.
Each time I've visited Paris I've had inspirations for living. My first trip gave me the taste of travel and Paris. The second trip was with Joe and we picked a name for the long haired black cat we knew we wanted while in Notre Dame. And on the third trip I got a great idea for a book while in Montmartre Cemetery. It won't be my first book but it's one I want to write one day.
I hope for next time we can go long enough that I can spend a day sitting inside wherever we stay, just feeling what it feels like to be in Paris. I hope to visit the Père Lachaise Cemetery and Galleries Lafayette and Sezane and Claus and buy more goodies from the pharmacy.
Whenever next time is, I can't wait.

Brimstone by Cherie Priest


Brimstone follows Alice Dartle, a clairvoyant from Virginia, and Tomas Cordero, a suit designer from Ybor City. Alice has moved to the small community of Cassadaga, Florida, a city known for it's mediums and spiritual leanings, to learn more about her abilities. After a series of fires both in Ybor City and Cassadaga, Tomas and Alice come together with the spiritual community to find out who is behind the fires and how it can be stopped.

I was skeptical going into this book because Cherie Priest's books are very hit-or-miss for me: I either love them or hate them. I was happy to discover that I absolutely love this one and once it really got going I couldn't put it down. She does a great job of writing the points-of-view of Alice and Tomas. They consistently alternate chapters without getting any unnecessary overlapping. A few parts of dialogue throughout the book could have been better, but that's really my only complaint about this book. Part magical realism, part historical fiction, part fantasy, this book has a lot going for it.

I also found it neat to find out that this is a real town in Florida that is less than an hour from where I spent much of my childhood.

5/5 Stars

I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Portrait by Antoine Laurain


The Portrait is another amazing book by Antoine Laurain. This makes three out of four of his books that I absolutely love. Pierre-François Chaumont is a lawyer and antiques enthusiast who comes across an 18th Century portrait of someone who looks just like him. His wife and their friends insist it looks nothing like him, which only causes him to obsess over it more until he finally identifies the man in the picture and makes the three-hour trip to his estate. I won't spoil the twists at the end, but I will say that he is related to the man in the picture. 

My favorite thing about Laurain's books is that he manages to take actions that would seem obsessive and weird in real life and turn them almost whimsical in his books. At the very least he usually makes the actions acceptable. It makes me think that the characters are really owning what it means to be themselves while at the same time embracing their passions, whether that be a notebook and finding love, music and finding success, a hat and feeling powerful, or a portrait and finding yourself.

5/5 Stars

See my reviews for his other books here:

And buy them here: